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Expected Labor Law Changes Under Obama
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Expected Labor Law Changes Under Obama

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This presentation highlights many of the anticipated labor law changes that will be passed by the filibuster-proof Democratic Congress and Obama

This presentation highlights many of the anticipated labor law changes that will be passed by the filibuster-proof Democratic Congress and Obama

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  • Obama ran on platform of change; Nowhere as much change as L/E arena; Changes like New Deal of 1930s; $500 million from labor unions; expect labor-friendly legislation

Transcript

  • 1. Anticipated Labor and Employment Law Changes Under Obama Mason Law Firm | maustin@maslawfirm | 614.734.9440 | www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin, Esq.
  • 2. Employee Free Choice Act
    • No secret ballot election
    • Mandatory agreement
    • Arbitration, not negotiation
    • Back pay penalty
    • Fines
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 3. Repeal of Section 14(b)
    • Right to work laws
    • Workers not forced to pay union dues
    • Lower unionization in right to work states
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 4. Patriot Employer Act
    • Tax credit equal to 1% of taxable income to employers
    • IF:
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 5. Patriot Employer Act
    • Maintain or increase number of full-time workers in America relative to number of full-time workers outside America;
    • Maintain corporate headquarters in America;
    • Pay hourly wages equal to or above an amount that would keep a family of three out of poverty;
    • Prepare workers for retirement by providing either a defined benefit plan or a defined contribution plan that fully matches at least 5% of worker contributions for every employee;
    • Provide health insurance and pay at least 60% of each worker’s health care premiums;
    • Support the troops by paying the difference between regular salary and military salary for all National Guard and Reserve employees who are called for active duty and continue their health insurance coverage for the Guard member and his or her family; and
    • Employers must maintain neutrality in labor organizing campaigns or face additional tax hikes
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 6. Patriot Employer Act
    • Cost of complying will likely cost more than the 1% tax break
    • To comply, companies may need to lay off employees
    • United States already has second highest corporate tax rate in the world
    • Essentially creates separate corporate tax rates for unionized and non-union companies – since unions win 87% of elections under neutrality agreements
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 7. RESPECT Act
    • Re-empowerment of skilled and professional employees and construction trades-workers
    • Overturn Kentucky River’s definition of supervisor
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 8. RESPECT Act
    • Under Kentucky River :
    • Supervisor is someone who assigns other employees to overall duties, is held accountable for directing subordinates to undertake specific tasks, and has discretion to do so without close direction from management
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 9. RESPECT Act
    • Under RESPECT Act:
    • Supervisor is “any individual having authority in the interest of the employer and for a majority of the individual’s work time to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline other employees or responsibility to direct them, or to adjust their grievances, or recommend such action if in connection with the foregoing, the exercise of such authority is not of a merely routine or clerical nature, but requires the use of independent judgment.”
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 10. RESPECT Act
    • What does this mean?
    • Now, even if a supervisor does not spend a majority of time actually hiring, firing, and disciplining, they are excluded from bargaining units
    • Deleting “assignment” and “direction,” drastically limits who is a supervisor
    • RESPECT Act eliminates many supervisors and places them in the bargaining unit
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 11. Working Families Flexibility Act
    • “ Union of One” law
    • Negotiations when single employee desires schedule or location change
    • Meeting within 14 days of the request
    • If request denied, employer must put in writing:
      • The costs to the company in agreeing to the change, including the costs of lost productivity, retraining, hiring, or transferring employees;
      • The effect of the change on customer demand;
      • The overall financial resources involved in the decisions to deny the request;
      • For employers with multiple facilities, the geographic separateness or administrative or fiscal relationship between the facilities; and
      • Any other demands not yet included in the act.
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 12. Working Families Flexibility Act
    • Dissatisfied employees can grieve the decision by requesting a reconsideration of the denial
    • If reconsideration is granted – meeting between employee and representative of choice (attorney, union official, etc.)
    • If reconsideration is denied – employer provides written justification for denial and a “sufficient explanation” of the grounds for the decision (which could later be reviewed by the DOL)
    • Penalties against the company for violations of this law including interference or retaliation against employees start at $1,000 per violation
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 13. Minimum Wage Hikes
    • 2007 = $5.35
    • 2008 = $6.55
    • 2009 = $7.25
    • Obama and Biden believe $7.25 has real purchasing power below that of 1968
    • “ As president, Obama will further raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2011, index it to inflation, and increase the earned income tax credit...” Obama website
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 14. NLRB Appointments
    • Three vacant seats
    • Obama will appoint majority of board
    • Obama’s board will be pro-union and decisions will reflect it
    • Do not need to be attorney/lawyer to sit on board
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 15. Healthy Families Act
    • Ohio’s similar proposal removed from ballot
    • Federal version of Ohio’s bill
    • Requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide 7 days of paid sick leave each year to employees working more than 30 hours per week; pro rated for less hours
    • Leave could be used to care for a sick relative
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 16. Minority Unions
    • Unions filed petition with NLRB for “rulemaking regarding members-only minority-union collective bargaining” to permit unions to demand employers bargain with a group of employees even when a majority of workers have not elected unionization
    • Negotiated terms and conditions for minority unit of employees only
    •  
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 17. Non-Discrimination Act
    • Amendment to title VII to prohibit discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation or sexual identity
    • Employers could face all levels of damages for harassment or discrimination
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 18. Arbitration Fairness Act
    • Renders pre-dispute arbitration clauses invalid for:
      • An employment dispute;
      • Disputes under civil rights statute; or
      • Contracts or transactions between parties of unequal bargaining power
    • Must delete arbitration language in employment applications and non-union employment agreements
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 19. Equal Remedies Act
    • Removes damages caps in Title VII and ADA claims
    • Currently compensatory and punitive damages for intentional violations capped between $50,000 and $300,000 depending on size of employer
    • Will increase lawsuits and settlement values
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 20. Family-Friendly Workplace Act
    • Amends FLSA to give employers option of compensating employees for overtime work with PTO instead of money
    • Employers could benefit from this flexibility
    • Must revise record keeping and payroll practices
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 21. Forewarn Act
    • Redefines “employer,” “plant closing,” and “mass layoff” under WARN
      • Employer – 50 instead of 100
      • Plant closing – 25 instead of 50
      • Mass layoff – 100 instead of 500
      • Notice – 60 days instead of 90
      • Penalties
      • Double back pay for each calendar day up to 90 days
      • DOL/AG can bring civil action on behalf of employees
    M ASON L AW F IRM www.maslawfirm.com Matthew D. Austin | blog http://theohiolaborlawyers.wordpress.com
  • 22. EXPECTED LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW CHANGES UNDER OBAMA Matthew D. Austin, Esq. Mason Law Firm | maustin@maslawfirm | 614.734.9440 | www.maslawfirm.com STAY TUNED… The End